269 North Main Street

Architectural Description: 

The house is a simplified Queen Anne style which retains a picturesque massing and the asymmetry of the Victorian period. It is a mix of both Classical and Gothic architectural elements. A mix of different gables and dormers and the incorporated porch within the house mass are typical of this design period from about 1880-1910.

Historical Narrative: 

Themes - Architectural and Community development

William M. Wood purchased a two and a half acre parcel of vacant land on the east side of North Main Street from William Poor, the wagon builder, in February 1892. At that time the lot was between William Poor’s homestead to the north and land of Susan Dove to the south. The Wood family later acquired Wm. Poor’s house lot in August 1899 creating approximately 4½ acres between North Main Street and the river. The house at #269 North Main was the first new home to be built on this land to service the Wood family estate. Andover Townsman (AT) - June 9, 1893 – Timothy Howard is putting in the foundation for a house to be built for Wm. M. Wood, near Wm. Poor’s house. July 7, 1893 AT - Brainard Cummings is to build the house for William M. Wood’s coachman, opposite Mr. Wood’s house in Frye Village and he is also to erect a large farm barn for Mr. Wood in the rear of his residence.

The house is a simplified Queen Anne style which retains a picturesque massing and the asymmetry of the Victorian period. It is a mix of both Classical and Gothic architectural elements. A mix of different gables and dormers and the incorporated porch within the house mass are typical of this design period from about 1880-1910.

The 1897 Andover Street Directory lists Alexander Davidson as the coachman for William M. Wood. Alexander Davidson as born in Scotland in February 1870, immigrating to America in 1890. His wife Annie E. was born in Nova Scotia in May 1870 and immigrated in 1896. Their children; Mabel J. b. Oct. 1897, Alexander b. Aug. 1899, Charles W. b. 1901, John B. b. 1903 and Jennie S. b. 1905 were all born in Andover, MA.

AT - April 13, 1900 Frye Village - Alexander Davidson, who is employed by William M. Wood as a coachman, had his right leg broken Monday afternoon while he was endeavoring to manage a pair of Shetland ponies. His foot was braced against the dasher as he held the ponies, which had never been driven as a pair, but a slip allowed his ankle to be drawn into the wheel and the bone was badly broken in two places. Dr.’s, Clark and Abbott were summoned to set the bones and Davidson was afterwards taken to the Lawrence hospital. It is thought that he is also injured internally.

Davidson continued to work for the Wood family after his accident but left his employment for Canterbury, NH and began farming there. The 1908 Andover Street Directory list Orval Reddig & Mrs. Reddig living at #269. Reddig is the Wood’s chauffeur. Philip A. & Rose Cox and daughter Sylvia occupy the house in 1913. Cox is employed by Wm. M. Wood. In 1910 Cox is a farm laborer living at 61 Lowell St. In 1916 he lives at 15 Highland Rd. giving his occupation as farmer.

The house is located directly across the street from the main entrance to the Arden estate and later served as the caretaker’s house for Orlando Cottage [now the LANAM Club]. In 1920 Albert B. Fisher and wife Agnes K. Fisher are residents here. Albert gives his occupation as caretaker of Orlando Cottage which was built in 1916 for William M. Wood Jr. and his family. Billy Wood Jr. later died in an automobile accident in August 1922. Fisher remained here until 1928 then moves to Enmore St. in Shawsheen Village. In 1930 he gives his occupation as Pointer & Paper hanger for a Realty Corporation.

The “Coachman’s” house was also part of the Arden Trust created in February 1921 by William M. Wood in trust for his children. After Wood’s death in February1926 the Trust turned the property over to the Phillips Corporation of Maine to liquidate the trust holdings.

Miss Elizabeth H. Elliott & Joseph A. Elliott then purchased the property on June 2, 1927. Miss Fisher was a school teacher in Lawrence, MA. Joseph Elliot lived in New York City. Miss Elliot was the owner occupant until about 1938. She then rented the house to Mary E. Crowley, widow of William C. Crowley. Mrs. Crowley remained her until the beginning of WWII.

From 1943-1947 Alphie E. & Elizabeth J. LeTourneau are renting the house. Alphie is a machinist in Cambridge working for Custom Craft. Also listed are two daughters, Geraldine M. manager of Hood Creamery in Lawrence and Ethel M. a student. Miss Elizabeth Elliot sells the property on September 19, 1947 to Daniel F. & Mabel F. Shea. The Shea family stayed four years selling to John J. & Annie I. Hannon May 24, 1951. John born 1894, a kitchen worker retired in 1961 and died November 12, 1965. Annie born 1901 was a housewife. They have two sons John Jr. born 1933 who worked for Raytheon and David M. born 1935.

On August 19, 1966 Andrew Jr. & Bernadine Casey Coburn purchased the house. Andrew b. 1932 is a writer, newspaper editor and his wife is a reporter and journalists. Andrew would later go on to write 13 novels including “Goldilocks”. Casey states " My husband was a novelist and the first novel he had published was “The Trespassers,“ which was set at 269 North Main. The cover photo of the book is not 269 No. Main but looks very much like it . Andrew wrote about the river, and all the flora and fauna such as beavers, snapping turtles, painted turtles, gorgeous tiger lilies, Japanese lanterns, and families of ducks that were around that wonderful house." They spent six years here before selling to Robert A. & Lisa T. Carr on September 14, 1972. Robert Carr was a truck driver. Carr sold to Robert B. & Janet Johnston on April 29, 1977. The Johnsons continue ownership in 2013.


Researched by James S. Batchelder – Andover Preservation Commission July 2013
Andover Townsman (AT)
Andover Advertiser (AA)
Andover Building Survey Form 1974-1976
Federal Census 1900 – 1940
Andover Street Directories
Andover Valuation Reports 1870, 1900, 1910, & 1920
Andover Historical Society – Vertical files.
Andover Vital Records (AVR)
Northern Essex Registry of Deeds, Lawrence, MA
Essex County Registry of Deeds, Salem, MA
See “Plan of Land in Shawsheen Andover, MA known as the “Main St. Lot” Owned by Phillips Corporation - Surveyed by John Franklin C.E. April 1926” registered as Map Plan #643 at Northern Essex Registry of Deeds. Lot #15.

Thomas C. Foster
William Poor Sept. 20, 1833 b. 284 lf. 247 Salem EDS
William M. Wood Feb. 29, 1892 b. 117 p. 310 Lawrence NEDL
Arden Trust - Feb. 9, 1921 b.447 p. 330
Cornelius A. Wood et al - March 31, 1926 Trustee
Phillips Corporation of ME - April 1926 b. 520 p. 462
Eliz. H. Elliott & Jos. A. Elliott - June 2, 1927 b. 532 p. 270
Daniel F. & Mabel F. Shea - Sept. 19, 1947 b. 702 p. 124
John J. & Annie I. Hannon - May 24, 1951 b. 750 p. 286
John, Annie & John J. Jr Hannon - Oct. 20, 1962 b. 971 p. 271
Andrew & Bernardine Coburn Jr. - Aug. 19, 1966 b. 1066 p. 381
Robert A. & Lisa T. Carr - Sept. 14, 1972 b. 1202 p. 115
Robert B. & Janet Johnston - Apr. 29, 1977 b. 1306 p. 742

Inventory Data:

StreetNorth Main St
PlaceShawsheen Village
Historic DistrictNot Applicable
Historic NameThe Coachman's House
Present Useresidence
Original Useemployee residence
Construction Date1893
Architectural StyleQueen Anne
Architect/BuilderBrainard Cummings builder
Foundationstone & granite
Acreageless than one acre; 24,930 sq. ft. 160' frontage
Map and parcel36-108
MHC NumberANV.399
Recorded byStack/Mofford - J. Batchelder
OrganizationAndover Preservation Commission
Date entered1975-77 updated 2013